Here at PurseBlog, we often attach a lot of importance to one particular aspect of purses: their staying power.
Is the Bottega Veneta Jodie and the similarly built, 90s-inspired, logo-emblazoned purses simply an of-the-moment fling fashionistas are having, or are recognizable handbags meant to be a fashion staple?
Only time will tell.
But much of this timelessness-centered discussion appears to remain exclusively within the realms of the more conventionally-shaped purses and possibly confined to a particular group of brands as well, namely Hermès, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton. Although BV seems to be taking on a similar status as of late thanks to its recently departed creative genius (farewell to thee, oh Daniel Lee!)
Novelty bags, however, rarely enter this conversation, most of them dismissed with a smirk before moving onto the more “serious” purses. Sure, crocheted purses, as colorful and statement-y as they may be, aren’t exactly what one expects to be able to pull off at a formal dinner, a black-tie event, or an opera (if you’ve watched Emily in Paris, you can probably guess where this is going. Also, the heading is a dead giveaway). Whimsical crystal clutches, on the other hand, like Judith Leiber’s fanciful offerings or the heart-shaped silver number from Gucci’s The Hacker Project, aren’t all that functional either. Of course, there is always Moschino’s trash-can-on-a-chain, especially if you’re going for that sultry, just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-grabbed-your-trash-can look (I think it looks more like a cup-holder, though). However, all of these feel more appropriate for the happy hour (hence, that Moschino is perfect to hoard an extra cup) than a super uptight dinner party, and possibly not for the faint-hearted out there.
And that is where Rosantica fills the void. Having grown up in the vibrant land of Brazil until the age of 14, designer Michela Panero came to learn about the world of minerals from her nanny, whose brother owned a crystal cave. Thus, her lifelong passion for jewelry and gemstones was fuelled, and she became an expert crafter of ornaments. Her dedication and expertise also led her to work with some of the biggest Maisons in fashion, like Bottega Veneta. But it was in 2009, Panero decided to launch her own brand, and that is how Rosantica Milano was born. Initially, the brand was completely centered on fine jewelry and embellished headpieces. This ancient Greek/Roman-inspired Raissa Necklace was one of its first creations. This, and many similarly bold statement pieces, helped the brand quickly achieve fame.
But as Panero herself says, with increasingly shrinking purses (Chanel’s bag on a necklace from SS21 comes to mind) and the evolution of jewelry towards functionality, in 2019, she began to fuse the two concepts and designed her first collection of handbags. And when these bejeweled purses from her collections made appearances in the opera episode from the first season of Emily in Paris (and in the process, received the stamp of approval from cult-favorite costume designer, Patricia Fields), it earned its place as a mainstay of the handbag world. They were also seen on the arms of Beyoncé, Jennifer Lawrence, and Taylor Swift, further cementing its place as a mainstay of the handbag world.
But what makes Rosantica purses so special? Situated in a private atelier in Milan, every component used to create Panero’s collections is handpicked individually by her and sourced locally from sustainable suppliers. Then, all the pieces are put together by the skillful hands of Italian craftsmen using traditional means they have been employing for generations. For Panero, the “Made in Italy” element is what makes her products bespoke – “Made in Italy” doesn’t necessarily mean “Made by Italians.” Hence, the designer puts extra attention to ensure her growing business supports the local trade, ravaged by competitive international commerce, to maintain sustainability and make her production processes “Km 0”. Thus, the brand also serves as a lesson for larger, more commercialized fashion houses that may be accused of losing touch with their roots.
And now, for the fun bit. Rosantica’s purses come in almost any novelty material imaginable – from silks, sateens, and velvets to beads, wickers, faux pearls, chunky chains, and literally everything in between, with an added serving of the semi-precious gems Panero loves to handle – these handbags are the epitome of the party season. Using the symbol of feminine style and confidence, Frida Kahlo, as her muse, and taking inspiration from the roaring 20s, with sparkling Flapper-style, avant-garde music, and the sparkling dancers of the era, the brand’s founder believes that her maximalist designs are what we need to overcome the darkness induced by the pandemic.
But even besides that, her collection isn’t just limited to partywear. From pearly top-handles decorated with rhinestones to wicker totes and velvet hobos, Rosantica’s pieces are equally wearable with casual outfits. And Panero’s singular attention to each and every detail ensures that the pieces are durable too – whether it’s the red carpet-appropriate Holli Top Handle, the Italian Trulli-inspired Trullo, or the satiny, dazzling Kingham from Emily’s wardrobe. There’s even a crystal Eiffel Tower (which, obviously, is currently sold out) for those looking to channel their inner Carrie Bradshaws!
By now, it’s evident that Rosantica has carved its own niche – call it the Hermès of novelty bags, if you will – and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Though novel by nature, its purses are just as durable and mesmerizing, and that too without being subject to the occasional derision most novelty bags generally garner! So this Christmas, swap out your little handheld clutches that’ll probably be a nuisance when you’re trying to eat with both hands (seriously, isn’t that what the holiday season is all about?) and instead, opt for the festive Holli Fringe. Go ahead; you deserve it!